How to Remove a Door Jamb for Moving Furniture

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If you need just a little more space to squeeze a piece of furniture through a doorway, the first thing to try is removing the door from the hinges. Unless the door can swing open 180 degrees, some of it will block the doorway. Remove the door by popping the hinge pins up and out of the hinge leaves, using a hammer and a screwdriver or punch. Still not enough room? The next step is to remove the door stops, the 1/2-inch-thick (or so) pieces of trim running along the sides and top of the door frame. If the piece still won’t fit, consider dismantling it; the only alternative is to remove the entire door frame.

Things You'll Need

  • Utility knife
  • Hammer
  • Painter’s 5-in-1 tool
  • Thin pry bar
  • Pliers
  • Finish nails
  • Nail set

Cut through the paint sealing over the joint between the stops and the door jamb, using a sharp utility knife. This prevents the paint from chipping or peeling in large pieces when you remove the stops. Clear-coated woodwork should not need to be cut.

Pry the side stops away from the jamb using a painter’s 5-in-1 tool or a thin pry bar. A 5-in-1 tool does a good job of getting under the stop without damaging the wood. Once you have created a gap, use a pry bar or the hammer’s claw to completely remove the stops. Protect the jamb by placing a piece of scrap wood or a wide putty knife between the pry bar or hammer and the jamb.

Pull out any nails left in the jambs. Remove any nails from the stops by pulling them through the back side of the piece (assuming they are finish nails) with pliers. Pushing the nails back out the front side usually causes splintering.

Reattach the stops using new nails that match the old ones or are slightly larger than the originals. Drive the nails nearly flush to the surface with a hammer, then use a nail set to recess the nail heads. The nail set’s tip should be smaller than the nail head.

Touch up any damaged paint or finish, as needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • When moving couches and similarly shaped pieces, don't forget the "corkscrew" technique: approaching the doorway with the piece at an angle (along both axes) to get the leading end through, then twisting (rotating and leveling) the piece as you pass through the opening.

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References

  • “The Complete Photo Guide to Home Repair”; Creative Publishing International, Inc.; 2008
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